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10 Health Screenings Every Woman Needs

From eating right to exercising to getting enough sleep, fostering healthy habits can help you maintain physical and mental wellness. Regular health screenings should be a part of your routine self-care — they may even save your life. 

At Alpenglow Gynecology, Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC and our compassionate care team are dedicated to providing individualized care for women in the Littleton, Colorado area. Rickie provides education and guidance to women on female health concerns and offers well woman exams with important health screenings to ensure your optimal health. 

What are the ten health screenings every woman needs? There are countless health screenings, and you may not need every one. At Alpenglow Gynecology, Rickie evaluates your current health and medical history to recommend the most appropriate health screenings for you. 

But because screenings help find conditions and diseases that might otherwise go undetected, here are ten that every woman needs at least once in her lifetime.  

Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer 

A Pap smear is a quick test that detects precancerous cells, allowing for removal before they become deadly cervical cancer. The screening is completed with a quick swab in the office, then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

A preliminary Pap smear is recommended at age 21, even for abstinent or monogamous women. Depending on the results and your lifestyle, Rickie may recommend an annual Pap smear or one every three years. 

Bone density screening for osteoporosis

A bone density screening is a non-invasive test. It uses a special kind of X-ray to measure the bone minerals in your bones to evaluate if you have or are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Early detection allows your provider to create a prevention or treatment plan to help you stay healthy, longer. 

All women over 65 should have a bone density test, and any women who break a bone after 50 or have elevated risk factors, like a family history of osteoporosis, should have one sooner. 

Mammograms to screen for breast cancer

About 270,000 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year in America, and tens of thousands more with early-stage breast cancer. Mammograms are a quick and painless screening that can detect breast cancer and help save your life. 

This screening is recommended every two years for women 50-74, and more frequently for women with a family history of breast cancer or other elevated risk factors. 

Screening for heart disease with a non-fasting lipid panel

Heart disease is the top cause of death in America. A non-fasting lipid panel is a quick and easy blood test that screens your total, good, and bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Women should have routine screenings beginning at 20 to ensure early intervention if numbers are elevated.

Colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and fecal immunochemical test for colorectal cancer

These three screenings can help your provider check for colorectal cancer, which affects 1 in 24 women in the US. Depending on your family and health histories, your provider may recommend one or a combination of these screenings. The current recommendation is to begin these screenings at 50 and repeat them every 5 years unless you have a higher risk or have signs of a problem. 

Hemoglobin A1C for diabetes

Diabetes is becoming a health epidemic in the United States. About 10% of the population currently has diabetes, and the number is quickly rising. Importantly, about 95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. 

Hemoglobin A1C is a blood test that screens for factors that indicate the presence of or an elevated risk for developing type 2 diabetes. By checking your A1C levels, you and your care provider can come up with a treatment plan to reverse or control diabetes. 

HIV and STD screenings

More than 20 million new cases of STDs are diagnosed in America every year. Many STDs, including HIV, don’t have immediately obvious symptoms. HIV and STD screenings offer the best way to protect yourself and your partner from a life-threatening disease. Which tests and how frequently you need them depends on your lifestyle, age, medical, and sexual health history. 

If you’re ready to learn more about the ten health screenings every woman needs, Ricke and the compassionate care team at Alpenglow Gynecology are here to answer your questions. Contact our Littleton office to schedule an appointment, or book online now! 

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